Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Princess diamond with four claws setting

There are exactly 4 ways to break a Princess diamond, so easy and yet
so expensive. If there is no care taken, this can happen to you!

My essay along with many photographs will supply you with the answer
to how breakage will not occur! “Pictures speak louder than words”!


I have a customer who want’s a princess cut pink sapphire bezel set
in a ring. I have set many cubics in this setting, in fine silver,
and the trick I was told by a professional gem setter to the trade
was to diamond file the corners. OK for a $3 cubic for some one who
wants a party bling ring, but a pink sapphire is not a bling toy. I
have not set a princess cut stone in 18KT. The alarm bells are
ringing already. Personally, with my gem setting skills, I think I
should talk the customer into an oval or round stone, no problem for
me to set. If I lived in a big city I would send the stone and ring
to a professional setter, unfortunately I live in a small town and
have serious doubts about the local setter.

Any thoughts?

Richard, this really doesn’t help you today, but it would be good to
build a relationship with a good goldsmith/setter. Someone you could
send a job like this to or who could make a whole commissioned piece
for you, they don’t need to be in your town. Myself, I have several
people who I do work for who are great jewelers themselves, but need
help with certain categories of work that they are not as comfortable
doing (not soliciting). Sometimes it’s just a time thing, where they
are doing shows and just can’t get back to the studio to make it
themselves or they may be busy working on their line. It will make
your life much easier and has the added benefit of giving you someone
who you can talk shop with, help you figure out pricing (always a
tricky area) and increase your business’ productivity.

If you must do it yourself, you might consider investing in The Art
of Setting Princess Cuts, by Blaine Lewis and his Bezel and Flush
setting DVD’s. These are as good as it gets as far as setting
training DVD’s. Even if you are a skilled and experienced setter,
these are valuable training tools and will help you problems solve
setting challenges in new ways.


Richard- Don’t change your design or your customers desires because
you are afraid to set a princess cut. It’s not fair to your customer
and not good for your growth as a craftsman.

Just cut your seat in the bezel and be very sure that you take a
very small ball burr and run it into the corners where the points of
the stone will sit. The points need to float free while the stone is
supported on the sides. Slightly bevel the outside edge of the bezel
and hammer down about 85%. Then before you hammer the rest of the way
down tidy up the inside edges of the bezel with a half onglette
graver. Then finish the setting. If you can set a CZ you can set a

If you are still nervous about setting it there are plenty of very
fine contract setters out there that belong to this group.

A healthy fear of breaking an expensive stone is a good thing. Just
don’t let your fear stop you from making and designing the finest
things you can.

Have fun and make lots of jewelry.
Jo Haemer

Before altering a customer’s Princess cut, so that you feel
comfortable setting it I would suggest passing on the job, or at
least setting the job aside, and purchasing, and reviewing two video
training discs by Blaine Lewis. “The Art of Setting Princess Cuts"
and Bezel and Flush Setting” are extremely good videos, and they come
with practice stones and the correct tools to do such settings. If
you are willing to do the pretty quick training and practice, this
job will no longer be so intimidating, and you will have expanded you
skill base.

I had been setting for over 30 years before I heard of Mr Lewis’s
DVD’s, but I can not begin to say how much I learned from them. I
have also loaned my copies to a couple of local beginning jewelers
who wanted to expand/improve their setting skills.

I read that one or two readers saw that I was using “smooth” round
nosed pliers. That is far from the truth in setting a Princess
stone. If those folks will look VERY CLOSELY, there are little fine
grooves at the tips of the pliers. Apparently the view was totally
obscured, hence their very specific remarks of that point!

I also refuse to use extremely large heavy pliers. They are not very
delicate in handling those fine claws. Its like using a bulldozer to
dig a hole in a flower garden! Those pointed pliers are very suitable
for my hands, but maybe not for them!

My teacher once said to me, “I don’t care what you use, as long as
the job gets done!”

Why did I use the little grooves? I used them in gripping each claw,
hence avoiding any slippage when tightening the stone!

But sometimes people make up their own minds before asking why
certain things are done!

I know sometimes that photographs can be very misleading!

Myself, I have severalpeople who I do work for who are great
jewelers themselves, but needhelp with certain categories of work
that they are not as comfortabledoing (not soliciting). 

There is much foolish pride in this business in recent years, I’m
afraid. I can set most anything - successfully. That is quite
different from setting it ~beautifully~. Last month I had a channel
set ascher cut band, and the setter was too busy for the timing, so
I did it myself just fine. This week and next I have a channel set
baguette band that I would have set myself back in the day. I’m
giving it to a setter with much experience and much younger eyes and
it will be perfect. The point isn’t to do it all yourself, the point
is to make it beautiful and also up to standard.

You do some of it yourself and you don’t do some of it. Little by
little you get better at it and after awhile you do MOST of it

But pounding away at this work with a stubborn “I do all of my work
myself” is, well, foolish pride. Leave the specialties to the